Highlights from Tom Allen’s radio show

The third episode of Tom Allen’s weekly radio show aired live from the Bloomington Holiday Inn on Wednesday night. Some highlights from the Indiana coach’s appearance follow:

— On the ability of the IU defense and offensive line to respond to his challenges after disappointing Week 1 performances: “Week 1, I was really disappointed in our defensive performance. I challenged them and got after them really hard. I knew there were things we could fix. They were playing hard, but were making too many mistakes. Then, offensive line, they were playing good, but not great. I expect that group to play great. They weren’t finishing blocks and drives the way I wanted them to and they responded. It’s encouraging when you have an area you want to focus on, you call them out and they respond.”

— On Stevie Scott’s breakout game: “So proud of him. Obviously, the offensive line is where it begins. He knows that. Just to be able to have a young guy perform like that (is important). You saw what he could do Week 1, but he was still timid in situations and didn’t run as hard as he could. I thought Week 2 he was a lot more confident. He showed great vision, great patience. He’s big, but showed some speed. Heck of a night. They knew we had to run the ball and they stacked the box and loaded it up. To do it in that situation makes it even more special.”

— On Micah McFadden contributing on special teams: “He caused a fumble on kickoff, then on the very next kickoff had a very big tackle. He came from the right side and got a solo tackle. They were the No. 3 return team in the country and have everybody back. We knew it was going to be a field position game. Those were two huge plays. Very, very talented player. He’s young and inexperienced, but a very good player.”

— On Reakwon Jones’ big game at linebacker: “When Tegray (Scales) graduated, there was a void that was left. I challenged the whole room. I said, ‘Who’s gonna step up? Is it gonna be somebody who’s already here, or am I gonna have to go out and recruit him?’ (Jones) didn’t play as well Game 1 as I hoped, but a lot of that was a lack of confidence and a lack of reps. He’s really settling into his own now and playing the way we hoped he would.”

— On Peyton Ramsey, for the most part, taking care of the ball in the rain: “There’s no question it’s hard. I was hoping that, eventually, the rain would stop. It never did. It was blowing laterally at times. It’s tough. I was amazed that we only had one turnover. When that ball is changing hands and it’s as wet as it is, you can’t keep it dry. The one interception was really just more of a decision. It was a poor decision. But we did a really good job protecting the football. I thought he did a tremendous job. He’s been very consistent all throughout fall camp, and he plays the way he practices.”

— On the jubilant locker room celebration after the game: “I just know this: this team loves each other. They care about each other and love the coaches. The coaches love the players. It’s not just about touchy-feely, lovey stuff. It’s genuine. It’s sincere. We hold each other accountable and the guys play hard. When you do all that and invest so much, they just let it rip. They love the chance to win, and to win together. It was a neat feeling in that locker room.”

— On Ball State challenging Notre Dame last weekend in South Bend: “It was impressive. When I saw the score, I was a little surprised. I knew Ball State was much improved because they have basically the same team as a year ago. They lost their quarterback and tailback early in the season and they struggled the rest of the way. Now, they’re all back. It was an impressive performance. They had a 19-play drive to start the game that ended in a field goal. They sacked them four times, had three interceptions and it was impressive. Not many teams go to Notre Dame like that and have that kind of success. I promise you, they have our attention.”

— A listener asked if Allen had ever won a game where his team didn’t score in the second half: “Great question. Saturday I did!”

— A listener asked Allen to name the funniest assistant on his staff: “We have a lot of fun together. We spend a ton of time and see each other a whole bunch. They’re pulling pranks on each other. But who’s the funniest? I would say probably coach (Grant) Heard is pretty goofy. He’s always talking smack between the receivers and DBs. When the kickers are kicking, he’s always in their face saying something silly to them, trying to get them distracted.”

— A listener asked about the benefit of having three consecutive home games: “Anytime you’re home it’s positive. We enjoy the road and the process of traveling together, but there’s nothing like being at home. The big perk is our fans and being in a familiar environment. We have seven home games this year and that excites me. Having three in a row helps us get in a rhythm and we’ll be able to go out and watch high school games on Friday.”

— A listener asked Allen for his ideal rush-pass ratio: “I want us to be balanced. I know from a defensive perspective, when an offense is balanced, it makes it really hard. When they’re not sure what you’re going to do, it gives you an advantage as an offense.”

— A listener asked how Allen planned to get Reese Taylor more involved on offense: “(Last week) I think the conditions altered that in some way. We’ll see how that progresses. I don’t want to say too many things to those (opposing coaches) that are listening who we don’t want to have that information. Come Saturday and see for yourself.”

— A listener asked Allen for his evaluation of Ball State’s Riley Neal: “I think he’s a great quarterback. He’s the best passer we’ve played, without question. He’s big, athletic and can sit in the pocket and beat you. He can run around and beat you. I think he could be a future NFL guy.”

3 comments

  1. Still looking like IU was very fortunate that BSU played ND so well. Would have been an easy one for the team to look past with MSU coming up next. Hopefully they are taking the BSU game as seriously as TA indicates. BSU should be beatable, but bad feeling if IU doesn’t play well, could be a problem.

  2. IU’s football program is better but still at the point they could lose to any team on the schedule. I hope this year is the start of developing a program that wins the games they should and beats a few they aren’t expected to win. BSU will be a test of the program in several ways as they showed against ND. However, if IU comes out and plays the way they can play the game should be in IU’s control from start to finish.

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